The video of Rodney King’s beating was profound in so many ways. For the first time, the nation witnessed brutal police brutality, filmed not by a media representative but by an ordinary citizen.
And marginalized color communities already had evidence of what we had been saying for years – law enforcement used illegal tactics and tended to target black men and used excessive force for no reason or concern for discipline.
The proof was there. The video was broadcast to everyone. Then came the trial and the acquittal of the police. The date is April 29, 1992.
In 1992, I served as deputy mayor of Los Angeles, and I was as amazed as the next person to see Mr. King’s beating repeated in my head when the innocent sentence was read in court. The two were not equal.
As a person, I knew this was wrong. As a community, it was too much to shake off. Tensions between the police force and the black community escalated to a turning point before the beating of Rodney King and the trial, and the possible dismissal of the charges against the police officers was too much to accept.
After the civil unrest in 1992, I continued to represent South Los Angeles and surrounding communities as a representative in the National Assembly. I was elected to chair the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, where I drafted legislation with the intention of reforming the police by creating better standards of conduct and basic training for law enforcement.
I carry with me images of the tragic beating of Rodney King and memories of community outrage to help guide a policy that strengthens ties between police officers and the communities they serve.
One of the main conclusions of this time is violence and crime will forever be caught in the act by anyone who has a VCR or mobile phone. And although technology now plays a major role as evidence in court, the judiciary and police policies remain outdated and biased.
George Floyd, Eric Garner and many others have videos that serve as proof that we still have to work on police reform.
Gradual changes have taken place through consensus decrees calling for change, and some from other external forces, such as community groups calling for change. Some change has taken place through the right leadership, but the change in the culture of policing, which has its roots in the capture of slaves, is not something that happens overnight.
Last year, Governor Newsom signed my AB 89 bill to establish new standards of training and conduct for law enforcement recruits, including prison wardens. My bill, also known as the PEACE ACT, requires higher education and raises the age limit for new officers to 21 out of 18. This adds more training, life experience and mental discipline, giving officers a better chance to de-escalate situations instead of hold impulsive and deadly actions when not needed.
As a community, we need to demand that law enforcement communicate better with our civic leaders and work with community-based organizations for better relationships. We must all be responsible for improving our neighborhoods and communities. And we need to learn from the past to create a safer and brighter perspective for everyone to prosper.
We must work to ensure that the recurrence of the tragedies, pain and suffering that happened in 1992 never happens again.
Images That Changed Our View – 30 Years of Reflection – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Images That Changed Our View – 30 Years of Reflection – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel